Cardiff University has secured almost £1m of EU funds to reduce energy use and tackle fuel poverty by enhancing energy efficiency in buildings and districts.
The research will be led by Professor Yacine Rezgui in the University’s Building Research Establishment (BRE) centre of excellence, in the School of Engineering.
His work to improve energy management includes two sites in Wales, at Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire and the former steelworks site at Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent.
Breakthroughs from the research will be applied across Europe in a bid to deliver more efficient use of energy in the built environment.
Professor Rezgui said:
“The work has a strong environmental, societal and economic dimension.
“From an environmental perspective, the work will contribute in achieving energy and carbon reduction targets sets by the EU and implemented by the UK and pave the way to a more sustainable built environment.
“From a societal perspective, the work will help alleviate the crucial problem of fuel poverty, in particular in Wales.
“From an economic perspective, the research will promote new business models across the energy value chain with a strong potential for job creation in the energy sector.”
The University’s BRE centre of excellence works with the BRE – the authority that regulates the built environment in the UK – to improve buildings through research and knowledge.
The three projects feature many partners based in countries comprising the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic and Ireland. The projects are to run to winter 2019/20.
The projects are:
Aiming to reduce the costs and carbon footprint of energy networks in the fish processing industry. Partners include Milford Haven Port Authority (MHPA). Within their remit is a 5MW solar array plant on a site adjacent to the port which is currently connected directly to the grid. piSCES will integrate this asset into the port’s energy matrix bringing key benefits to MHPA in line with its energy strategy.
European energy management project aimed at addressing current barriers to the uptake of District Heating and Cooling (DHC) systems in Europe, including the UK, by designing the next generation DHC with a substantial increased share of renewables, operational efficiency and reduced environmental impact. THERMOSS is focused on residential buildings connected to district heating networks, while providing a solution that helps the connection of existing and new dwellings.
PENTAGON aims to deliver a new generation of eco-districts that exploit a wide range of renewable energy generation sources enabled by advanced energy management services acting on different energy carriers (thermal, gas and electric). Furthermore, the project investigates the use of energy conversion technology (including power to gas) to improve flexibility of energy supply. Blaenau Gwent Council is involved, at The Works site on the former steelworks in Ebbw Vale, as part of efforts to reduce fuel poverty in the county borough.
Researchers at the University’s BRE centre are also developing an energy simulation platform to help facility managers, including energy managers, optimise the operation of their energy systems.
The simulator will be used in all three projects and will be deployed in seven sites across Europe.
The funding for THERMOSS and PENTAGON is from Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with nearly €80bn of investment available over seven years to 2020.
The EU funding for piSCES is from the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme, a maritime programme connecting organisations, businesses and communities on the west coast of Wales with the south-east coast of Ireland.